Rehabilitation (or rehab) is often a part of cancer treatment. It helps people who have had cancer do as much as they can on their own. Among the many specialists who help with rehab are the patient’s doctor, nurse, social worker, physical therapist, and occupational therapist. Think of these experts as problem-solvers that you and the person with cancer can turn to when problems come up.

Rehab can help a person return to day-to-day functions after going through a serious illness. Rehab can help with things like job training, homemaker services, prostheses (such as a replacement of a limb or body part), or exercise programs.

Rehab can be a long process. Results may come slowly, and it’s often frustrating. Sometimes people feel their efforts are useless or that it’s just too hard. Encourage the patient to actively take part in any rehab program, and offer your support along the way. One way of putting your support into action would be to go with the patient to the appointments, or do the exercises with the patient. If rehab has not been suggested and you think your loved one might benefit from it, go ahead and discuss it with the doctor.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Last Revised: February 5, 2015

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